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14 Simple Things You Can Do To Upgrade Your Office

14 Simple Things You Can Do To Upgrade Your Office

Staying motivated and keeping your productivity high are sometimes difficult, especially if you are sitting at a desk in your home office with no one to breathe down your neck and yell about deadlines. You’ll often find that people who tend to be unmotivated and slack off more don’t have things around their office set up in a way that allows them to stay focused on their work for extended periods of time. Here are some simple things you can do to upgrade your office and create your perfect work environment.

1. Hang your hardware on the wall using hooks

An excellent way of saving some space on your desk and just generally making things more manageable is to get some wall hooks and hang things on them. You can get a number of very cheap metal hooks or plastic attachments that can be used to hold anything from cables and small gadgets to larger office supplies.

2. Add some extra storage space

Another great way of preventing your desk from getting all cluttered up is to simply add some additional storage space. A small drawer with about three compartments is usually more than enough, but you can also make your own shelves. A chest or similar piece of old furniture can also be used to add storage space, but something as simple as boxes, baskets or travel bags can do the trick in a pinch.

3. Elevate your speakers to ear level

Instead of buying new speakers or constantly turning up the volume, you can simply raise your speakers on a platform so they are at ear level. This way you get a much clearer sound without making too much noise.

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4. Add more light

Shed more light

    You will strain your eyes if there isn’t enough light and this can lead to a deterioration of your eyesight over time. Low light conditions can also make you feel drowsy and even slightly depressed. By adding a good lamp you will ensure that there is enough light in your immediate surroundings for you to see clearly. If at all possible you should try and let some natural light into your office by setting up your work desk near a window.

    5. Give it some color

    Bland, boring and grey is not really a design that promotes creativity and productivity. If you want to stay motivated, you need to feel comfortable and relaxed, which can be achieved by adding some bright colors and spicing things up. A fresh coat of paint on the walls, some paintings or prints, colorful office supplies on your desk, a new rug, painting an interesting pattern on your desk and drawer – all these things can help you create a fun work area where you can spend hours at a time without feeling claustrophobic or depressed.

    6. Get a small potted plant

    A nice, green plant will help you upgrade your office in several ways. It provides you with extra oxygen, livens up your interior and keeps you connected to nature so you don’t feel like you are in a prison. You need a plant that doesn’t require a lot of sunlight and is simple to maintain. Some good choices include English Ivy, Philodendrons and Peace Lilies.

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    7. Find a comfortable, ergonomic chair

    Sitting in the right position not only ensures that you stay healthy, but it also enables you to sit in the same position much longer without fidgeting around or taking frequent breaks to stretch your body. A good office chair follows the natural curvature of the spine, provides lumbar support, and is highly adjustable so as to allow you to customize the chair to your size and needs. Make sure your knees and elbows are bent at 90 degree angles, that the armrests provide adequate support for your forearms, and that the chair is comfortable yet stiff enough to keep your body aligned properly.

    8. Improve your desk

    You will need to set up the things on your desk so that they are within reach. Your desk also needs to have enough space to fit everything and some additional storage where you can put away things that you don’t use that often. Generally speaking, you should be able to reach your peripherals – i.e. mouse, printer, speakers – and important tools, like a calculator or notepad and pen, without moving your body. The things that you use less frequently should be placed further away and you should only have to move your chair or get up when you need to access things that are used on rare occasions. An elevated platform for the monitor and a sliding base for the mouse and keyboard are also beneficial.

    9. Put your monitor at eye level

    The reason most people hunch over so much when sitting at the computer (well, apart from the fact that they often have really bad chairs and low desks) is the fact that the monitor is on a lower level. Your monitor should be at eye level so that you can keep your neck and back straight when looking at the screen. If using a laptop, it’s best to get a USB keyboard and raise the laptop. There are plenty of good bases that allow you to do this, but a stack of books will do just fine.

    10. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy

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    Great home office design

      Some two or three hours into your day at the office you will start to feel mental fatigue and decide to take a short break. Just 5–10 minutes can be enough to let your brain relax, but you need to keep your mind off work and focus it on something fun and pleasurable. Pictures of your loved ones, a model ship, your favorite fishing rod, your first guitar, or a small figurine with a lot of emotional value are just some examples of things that can help put your mind at ease.

      11. Always have a few items lying around that can help your body relax

      Your body tends to get tense and uncomfortable from sitting too long. That’s why it’s important to have a few useful items at your side, such as a grip straightener, a resistance band, a foam roller or a head massager. Take a break every so often, do some light exercise to strengthen the tendons and get some blood flowing through the muscles, and then stretch to loosen up your body.

      12. Create a portable stand for your webcam or microphone

      There are plenty of cheap webcams that include a portable stand and you can get small, flexible stands for webcams for a very low price as well. They allow you to position your webcam any way you want, so that you don’t have to hunch over or mess with the lighting to get a good picture.

      13. Organize your cables

      There’s nothing worse than having a bunch of tangled up cables lying on the floor, particularly when you have to unplug something. Organizing cables isn’t that difficult. You’ll need to unplug everything and untangle those messy cables first, then use hooks and different attachments to make sure the cables run straight from the machines to the sockets. Putting a few small stickers with the right labels (e.g. computer, monitor, printer, etc.) on the cables can help you quickly identify which cable goes where.

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      14. Get a whiteboard

      A whiteboard is essential for visualizing your thoughts and putting down those split-second epiphanies before you have a chance to forget them. It also serves as a great reminder – it’s difficult to forget about something when you have a huge list of tasks staring you in the face every time you sit down at your desk. A whiteboard helps you become more organized and you can always draw some random things on it if you start feeling bored.

      In order to do your best you need a workplace that is tidy, decorated to your liking and has a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere. It all comes down to motivation, so make sure you upgrade your office in a way that keeps you feeling happy and motivated.

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      Ivan Dimitrijevic

      Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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      Last Updated on October 22, 2020

      How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

      How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

      Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed, and exhausted. Therefore, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, it’s time to do something about it.

      Here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm, leaving you calmer, in control, and a lot less stressed at work.

      1. Write Everything Down to Offload Your Mind

      The first thing you can do when work feels overwhelming is to write everything down that is on your mind.

      Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s occupying your thoughts[1].

      For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind, write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind.”

      The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will help you stop feeling overwhelmed at work. Writing things down can really change your life.

      2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

      Once you have emptied your head, go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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      As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

      Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. You can learn how to create a more meaningful to-do list here.

      3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

      Here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago to help when work feels overwhelming. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and we humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take[2]:

      When feeling overwhelmed at work, use Parkinson's Law.

        This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad. It’s more wishful thinking than bad judgment.

        We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage when we’re feeling overwhelmed at work. If you have estimated that to write five important emails will take ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

        Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is that you put yourself under a little time pressure, and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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        When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time, so it plays tricks on us, and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our team members to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

        Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening, and we get more focused and more work done. This will help when work feels overwhelming.

        4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

        Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos to avoid getting overwhelmed at work. Schedule time for each task, especially high priority tasks, while also grouping together similar tasks. This will help relieve stress and anxiety in your daily work life.

        For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

        Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done, and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer, and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

        5. Make Decisions

        For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one[3]. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

        If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend, or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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        If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss or a colleague and get advice.

        Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and will only make you feel more overwhelmed at work. You need to make a decision to deal with it, and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved.

        I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed, and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend about the problem.

        He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem, and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I pay a smaller amount for a couple of months.

        This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

        The first was: don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second: there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

        6. Take Some Form of Action

        Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we are feeling overwhelmed at work (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

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        The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

        It also means that, rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible, and you can make decisions about what to do about them.

        Often, it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be that you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

        When work feels overwhelming, it’s not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work. It can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

        The Bottom Line

        It’s easy to feel like you have too much on your plate, but there are things you do to make it more manageable. 

        Make a decision, even if it’s just talking to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution.

        When you follow these strategies, you can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

        More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

        Featured photo credit: Josefa nDiaz via unsplash.com

        Reference

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